The Skyline Spartans emerged on top of the Eastside Catholic Crusaders in an exhilarating 13-12 nail-biter on Wednesday night at a freshly remodeled Skyline Stadium.
This was a great match-up as both teams played their hearts out in a game where the lead changed seven different times before Skyline’s three goal run in the fourth for the win. It was never clear who would come out on top until Spartan senior attackman Nolan Eggert made a clutch interception and goal putting his team in position to burn out the final minutes for the game.
Skyline senior midfielder William Cespedes had his biggest game of the season with four goals, two of which came in the fourth quarter. Cespedes and Eggert accounted for their team’s only three goals in the final quarter securing their team’s win over the visiting Crusaders.
It was business as usual for Crusader’s junior midfielder’s Joey Matte and Jack Sercu accounting for four goals and seven assists.
The lead had changed three times before the first half had ended with Skyline holding what was the largest lead of the game at 8-5. The Spartans made great use of their long-stick midfielder Will Carson who towered over the Crusaders like a red oak dumping a couple shots in the face of the Eastside Catholic goalie Jeff Walton in the final minutes of the half that seemed impossible to stop.
Eastside Catholic head coach Charles Goodman must have said something inspiring during halftime because his team dominated the initial 14 minutes of the second half with six goals to Skyline’s two. The Crusader’s would hold the lead for the final time at 11-10 with ten minutes left in the game. Any other team might have fell to this kind of pressure but this Spartan team was not finished.
Cespedes came out with a beautiful bounce shot then immediately another shot on the run putting his team back in a one-goal lead situation. Eastside Catholic would miss a few wide shots on the cage with their next possession struggling to regain their lead.
After an unsuccessful offensive play by Skyline, Walton attempted a pass to his defender when Eggert stretch for a clean interception and fast break to the cage for a clutch goal to put his team up two goals with 5 minutes left in the game.
“I was stoked, I was jumpin’ up and down. That was, to me, one of the highlight goals of the year and I love my man Egg’s, I love to see him be able to bang one like that.” Skyline head coach Sam Hutson comments on Eggert’s final play.
The Crusaders were unable to put anything else together only grabbing one more goal before Skyline burned out the remaining two minutes securing their victory.
“We’re a confident group, we’ve been having a good year all along. We’re very confident in the things that we do, we know what we do well and we try to stick to those.” Hutson sheds some light on some of the emotions his team was feeling prior to the game.
“We knew what we were going to face coming into tonight but we liked our chances. Being on our home turf and opening up our new stadium, not a better way to finish the night but with a W”
Hutson and his squad were eager to test out their new turf against their opponents. Skyline High School has been remodeling their stadium for the past couple years on a $9 million budget putting in a covered home-side grandstand that seats approximately 2,500 people with press-boxes and new concessions. It took a lot more than a new stadium to keep this Spartan team’s head in the game as Hutson would explain.
“Staying grounded is one of the biggest things that we focus on. No matter what the day is, who the match-up is, what the odds are, what we aim to do is just win the next play. Just put our best foot forward and at the end of the day, you can’t ask for anything more.”
Eastside Catholic will be on the road again Friday night to face the Mercer Island Islanders (7-3) in their third non-league game in a row. Skyline heads off to Texas for the next week to test out their skills in Fort Worth for their first stop.
Story by Michael Thornbloom.